2019-10-06 23:54:48 UTC
According to The Hollywood Reporter, comedian Rip Taylorknown for his extremely
flamboyant and enthusiastic personality as well as his penchant for showering
people with confettihas died. A cause of death wasnt given, but the news was
confirmed by Taylors publicist. Taylor was 84.
Born in Washington, D.C. in 1935, Taylor briefly worked as a congressional page
and quickly began to suspect that he was destined from something more
theatrical, saying in a 90s interview that, rather than go through the
underground tunnels to get from one building to another, he would march out into
the public areas and announce what he was doing, saying, I was so hammy even
then. During the Korean War, Taylor joined up with the special services and
worked to entertain troops, where he came up with a comedy routine that made him
famous. When telling a joke, he would cover his face and pretend to break down
crying as he begged for laughs. It would end up getting him bigger laughs, than
a more straightforward shtick, and by the 60s he had become a regular player in
As THR explains, thats how Taylor eventually got on The Ed Sullivan Show. As
the story goes, Taylor heard a booking agent for Sullivan was going to be at one
of his shows, so he spent his own money to get the audience drunk beforehand and
make him seem funnier. It worked, and Taylors comedy became a recurring feature
on the The Ed Sullivan Showthough Sullivan himself only referred to Taylor as
The Crying Comedian when he couldnt remember his name. His frequent TV
appearances made Taylor an in-demand comedian, landing him high-profile gigs in
Las Vegas in the 70s opening for performers like Frank Sinatra, Debbie
Reynolds, Judy Garland, and The Kingston Trio.
The 70s also saw him transition to the world of television, regularly appearing
on Hollywood Squares, The Gong Show, and as a guest host on The Match Game. He
played a genit on Sigmund And The Sea Monsters, popped up on The Brady Bunch
Hour, and hosted a weird pageant parody series called The $1.98 Beauty Show.
Taylor also did voice work in stuff like Scooby Goes Hollywood, The Emperors
New School, and Tom And Jerry: The Movie, and he appeared in movies like Waynes
World 2, Chatterbox, and Indecent Proposal (making a rare appearance without his
usual toupee). Taylor also somehow became a fixture of the Jackass movies and
made a post-credits cameo in Johnny Knoxvilles Dukes Of Hazzard.
THR notes that Taylor is survived by his longtime partner, Robert Fortney.